I was sitting at a youth service this week listening to the story of Saul on the road to Damascus when the thought hit me.
Jesus punk'd Paul.
In case you're not familiar with the concept it comes from a TV show on MTV called "Punk'd". Basically it was just a practical joke show. The victim was some reasonably well known pop personality who is led to believe that something is going on (usually something bad), drawn deeply into the situation and then given the old "April Fools!" routine. For this generation that's now referred to as getting punk'd.
And that's basically what happens to Saul/Paul. Saul is sure he knows what's going on. These terrible people (Christians) are running around causing upset, spreading heresy and they need some serious smack down. And Saul is the smack down artist supreme. He's got official permission to start seeking out and laying some whoop a$$ on not only folks where he lives but can even start branching out. Like the victims of the show he is full sail into the middle of it all. Just like those folks this is not going to turn out the way he expected.
Saul is so certain he's right, so certain that he's got it down, so certain that he is the living image of a godly man. So Jesus takes it all away from him. Being blind back in that time was a very bad thing. So he's kind of stuck, folks don't want to be around him much.
Then, SURPRISE!!! All those bad people? That's Jesus. Ooopsy. All that stuff you were SO certain about? Yeah, got that wrong too. In fact the first thing we're going to do is have one of "those" people to bring you back and make you right.
In the TV show the victims usually set themselves up a bit. Paul set himself up big time. The big difference is that the goal of the TV show is to make people look stupid. God's goal is to make see. Like the scales that fell away God in our own lives should allow us to see the world a little more clearly, with a little more love and caring. Those first couple days with the disciples in Damascus must have been pretty humbling for Paul. Really understanding what our lives should look like can be pretty humbling for us all.
Paul got punk'd.